Social media videos come in all shapes and sizes, but when you make your videos for social media, what shape should yours come in? Picking the length of your social media video can make a substantial difference in the amount of engagement, views, and interaction you receive.
There’s a lot to consider when creating your social media video. What platform will it live on? How will you make your video to grab viewers? What copy will draw action from your viewers? How do you ensure your audience will actually watch the full video?
Crafting an effective social media video involves many important factors, but one of the most important factors remains the length of the social media video. Before you start building your social media video, it’s key to consider the best length for videos on each social media platform.
Finding the perfect length for your video on each platform involves a lot of decision-making, but there’s one key rule to always keep in mind: the best time is the length that you need to convey your message, and no longer.
However, that being said, there are many best practices for each social media platform. In many circumstances, the best length for your video will depend on the social media platform. That’s why we’re breaking down some of our all-around social media best practices, different types of social videos, and the best length for videos, depending on the platform you use.
The Perfect Length for Social Media Videos:
Our All-Around Best Practices for Social Media
Video consumption is taking over social media. More than 45% of people watch at least an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. On YouTube, viewers watch more than 500 million hours of videos each day. More and more videos are published to social media each day, and that means any video content on the internet faces big competition. If you’re just starting social media, consider these general best practices for video content:
- Make your videos accessibility friendly: not everyone watches videos with sound on, so include captions whenever possible. Preview the video to ensure it looks good without sound, too.
- Keep it short: People don’t have long attention spans. You need to keep your video short, and grab your viewer’s attention in the first few seconds. Convey the information in a concise way.
- Make it social friendly: the social platform you post the video on matters. For more on this, keep reading!
- Size matters: learn more about social media video specs for each platform and format each video accordingly. No one likes a landscape video on IGTV!
Different Types of Videos
There are so many different types of videos to make on social media. The most important thing to remember when picking a type of video is picking a type that works best for your content. The type of content will affect the video length as well. Shorter videos are better, of course, but certain videos aren’t meant to be short.
Going live on social media is becoming increasingly popular for many brands and businesses. Live Facebook videos, for example, tend to be pushed up in the Facebook algorithm and the live videos tend to see much more engagement when compared to similar length videos (five to 10 minutes).
Promotional and teaser videos are meant to get viewers excited about a certain product, service, or release. These videos serve multiple purposes and will often live on a business’ website and social media. Promotional and teaser videos normally run under 30 seconds.
Explainer videos have the power to be one of the most impactful videos on social media. For many people, social media videos are one of the primary ways they consume new information. How-to videos will be much longer than your standard video, especially because people will search for the videos. These types of videos can be at least three minutes or as long as six or seven minutes, depending on the topic.
Explainer videos are similar to how-to videos. These types of videos go into some detail into a certain subject, and usually feature animation. Unlike how-to videos, though, these videos are either very short in length to tease something else, or much longer to explore a certain topic.
Product videos are one of the most common social media videos on purpose. These videos, which come with all different types of videos, often feature short product introductions, highlights, unboxing videos, or more.
News videos with snippets of news footage or updates are most popular on Twitter, where in-the-moment news works best. However, they can be effective on a number of platforms if formatted correctly.
The Best Length For Social Media Videos
Nowadays, there are so many powerful social media platforms. Where should you focus your video content for the best results? According to a 2019 study, Instagram took the cake with 51% of viewers saying they watch videos on Instagram. But how long should your video be? Here’s a complete breakdown of each social platform and the best lengths for videos on each platform.
Facebook Video Length Best Practices
Facebook offers a number of different ways to display videos on your page, from feed videos to Facebook watch to Facebook Live. The company has made videos a huge part of their platform, and therefore, Facebook allows for significantly longer video lengths than other networks. However, just because you can post a video that lasts a few hours, doesn't mean you should.
On Facebook, videos can vary in length. For example, the maximum length of a Facebook livestream is 8 hours! According to Facebook, users will normally watch videos for around 15 seconds, but some studies have suggested that if you want better engagement, you should aim for two to five minutes.
If you’re posting videos meant for quick conversations and business awareness, you should aim for much shorter videos (especially if you’re posting to Facebook Stories). For longer videos, though, videos should last over three minutes.
- Maximum Facebook recommended video length: 240 minutes
- Best Facebook video length: 2 to 15 minutes
Instagram Video Length Best Practices
Instagram is the holy grail of up-and-coming social media platforms for video content. You have so many different ways to display your videos: the feed, the story, IGTV, reels… Each video content has its own maximum length:
- IG Story: 15 seconds maximum
- IG Feed: 60 seconds maximum, though you can stack those videos in a carousel post
- IGTV: 10 minutes max, though verified accounts can post longer videos
For Instagram, the length will really depend on your content and the method with which you plan to post the content. Think about where your content works best, and where your audience engages most. For example, when putting together a story on Instagram, consider the amount of slides you need to tell the story. Each slide of your story needs to fully convey a message or point, preferably with subtitles.
Grid videos, on the other hand, should encourage people to share the content in some way to embrace the algorithm. On-screen text and captions are essential.
If you opt for IGTV, your content should be much longer with something to add to the experience. You should use the time in the best possible way to highlight your brand or product or message. Strike a balance between giving the right amount of information, and too much information.
To sum it up, here are our recommended video lengths:
- IG Story: one to ten slides
- IG Feed: 60 seconds or less
- IGTV: 2 to 6 minutes
Twitter Video Length Best Practices
Twitter caps your videos at a maximum of 140 seconds, but the company recommends posting videos that are 15 seconds or less. Video works so well with Twitter because Tweets are so short. Twitter has said that their internal data suggests users engage about 10 times more with a tweet with video instead of a text tweet. Keep your videos short, around 45 seconds, and the text just as short to match the platform.
- Maximum Twitter video length: 140 seconds
- Best Twitter video length: 45 seconds
LinkedIn Video Length Best Practices
LinkedIn caps their native videos at 10 minutes, and their video ads at 30 minutes, but the social network doesn’t necessarily recommend any ideal time for your video length. It all depends on your purpose and objective and content, according to LinkedIn. For brand-centric videos, LinkedIn says, video should be 30 seconds or less. Videos that are this short, the company says, see a 200% increase in completion.
However, LinkedIn does recommend playing around with video lengths and seeing how your audience responds and how the video performs. A similar study found that longer-form video content on LinkedIn drives as many clicks as shorter videos.
- Maximum Linkedin video length: 10 minutes, or 30 minutes for ads
- Best Linkedin video length: 30 seconds
YouTube Video Length Best Practices
YouTube is all about videos, and the length of your video will vary greatly depending on the content and the user. The social network will cap your videos at a maximum of 12 hours, which is the longest length of any one video of any network right now.
As for the perfect length? That fluctuates a lot, depending on trends. According to most studies, videos should be around 10 minutes long. Most videos tend to be in a medium range like this so creators can opt to insert ads and monetize the video.
- Maximum Youtube video length: 12 hours per video
- Best Youtube video length: around 10 minutes
When it comes to creating social media videos, it’s most important to consider the platform you’re working with - and it’s limitations. Consider each platform and examine what successful videos look like on that platform. Always keep in mind the length, platform by platform, for the most engagement and the most eyeballs.